The GuideStar Blog retired September 9, 2019. We invite you to visit its replacement, the Candid Blog. You’re also welcome to browse or search the GuideStar Blog archives. Onward!

GuideStar Blog

Lori Larson

Recent Posts by Lori Larson:

Community Foundations: How Organizational Change Results in Positive Community Change, Part 2

This blog is part of a series of conversations with executives from leading community foundations who are stepping out of their traditional, risk-averse roles and stepping up to affect positive social change. Watch your email for an invitation to join us for an interactive GuideStar webinar with these community foundation leaders.


Community Foundations: How Organizational Change Results in Positive Community Change, Part 1

This blog is part of a series of conversations with executives from leading community foundations who are stepping out of their traditional, risk-averse roles and stepping up to affect positive social change. Watch your email for an invitation to join us for an interactive GuideStar webinar with these community foundation leaders. To read Lori's articles on How Building Community Knowledge Can Facilitate Successful Organizational Change and Community Impact for Community Foundations, click here and here.


Community Foundations: Building Knowledge to Facilitate Successful Organizational Impact, Part 2

This blog is the second in a series of conversations with executives from leading community foundations who are stepping out of their traditional, risk-averse roles and stepping up to affect positive social change by increasing the dollars and impact of effective philanthropy in their communities. To read Part 1, click here. Watch your email for an invitation to join us for an interactive GuideStar webinar with these community foundation leaders!


Community Foundations: Building Knowledge to Facilitate Successful Organizational Impact, Part 1

This blog is the first in a series of conversations with executives from leading community foundations who are stepping out of their traditional, risk-averse roles and stepping up to affect positive social change by increasing the dollars and impact of effective philanthropy in their communities. Click here to read Part 2. For more articles on how organizational change results in positive community change, click here and here.


Important Research Insights about Donor Satisfaction and Community Foundation Value

The Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) recently released research, “What Donors Value: How Community Foundations Can Increase Donor Satisfaction, Referrals, and Future Giving,” comes at an opportune time for the nonprofit sector. (See my original guest post on CEP’s blog here.) As the community foundation sector celebrates its 100th anniversary, it is not only reflecting on its history but is more importantly, envisioning its future, and why sustainability and resilience of the community foundation sector matters. The CEP research begins with an introductory overview on the many diverse challenges the nonprofit sector is currently experiencing. Whether one agrees with some, none, or all of CEP’s donor satisfaction research findings, this research provides important and much-needed knowledge about donor value and is an important contribution to the field.


Celebrating the Accomplishments of Community Foundations for Positive Social Change

Yesterday we cross-posted a blog article from Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (GKCCF) celebrating and reflecting on the 10th anniversary of DonorEdge, originally created by GKCCF. As our CEO, Jacob Harold, stated, GuideStar is excited about continuing its investment and commitment to helping community foundations achieve their organizational strategies and unique potential of positive social change for their communities. Today’s blog post extends this conversation and presents highlights about the community foundation sector’s progress, challenges, and trending opportunities from a national perspective.


Kansas City’s Nonprofit Search Turns 10

Kansas City’s nonprofit search made its debut on the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation’s website on October 20, 2003. As we celebrate 10 years, we thought we’d look back at the history of the tool, previously known as DonorEdge.


The DonorEdge Learning Community: Creating Organizational Effectiveness and Positive Social Change

In recent blog posts, I highlighted how each community foundation in the DonorEdge Learning Community (DELC) is transforming philanthropy in their communities by new strategies, nontraditional collaborations, and a culture of willingness to experiment. In many of these efforts, the DELC uses DonorEdge nonprofit profile data internally for improved grantmaking and organizational efficiency, shares the data with community funders and stakeholders, and presents the knowledge from DonorEdge data with donors and the community at large to increase community philanthropy and affect positive social change. The DELC are now at various points of reflection and are assessing the return on investment (ROI) experienced to date with their individual organizations and collectively in sector leadership.

The 16 community foundations members of the DELC are diverse:

  • Founding years of 1915-2000
  • Asset sizes of $14 million-$1 billion+
  • Staff sizes from 3-60
  • Service areas of one county to two states
  • DonorEdge implementations from 2002-current
  • DonorEdge sites with 70-1,300 nonprofit profiles

Because of these diverse demographics, the criteria and framework of reflection and ROI is also diverse. Regardless of this challenge, we continued the conversation and presented ground-breaking progress in assimilating evidence-based, quantitative metrics to demonstrate the ROI for improved DELC organizational effectiveness, capacity building of nonprofits in their communities, and ultimately positive social change at the 2013 DonorEdge Learning Community Annual Conference. Some of the metrics used to build this quantifiable story of ROI and social change are:

  • Web analytics
  • Cost efficiencies and higher quality information for grant making for the community foundation and funders, and grant application submissions for nonprofits
  • Change over time:
    • Community foundation asset size, contributions, grants
    • Number of nonprofits creating and maintaining DonorEdge profiles
    • Aggregated and sector nonprofit reports
    • Educational curriculum offered at local universities
    • Stakeholder surveys

As this exciting evidenced-based story of social change takes shape, more information will be shared through this GuideStar Blog.

The DELC has data from almost 6,000 DonorEdge nonprofit profiles. Aligned with this growth and technological innovation at GuideStar, we will soon announce exciting changes in the design, look, and pricing of DonorEdge. GuideStar will have a DonorEdge that fits your community foundation just right!

If you are interested in learning more about DonorEdge or the DonorEdge Learning Community, please contact Lori Larson, senior director GuideStar DonorEdge, llarson@guidestar.org.

Lori Larson

Lori Larson is senior director of GuideStar DonorEdge and is responsible for GuideStar’s market and product strategy for DonorEdge, and growth of and customer relations of the DonorEdge Learning Community. Prior to joining GuideStar, Lori worked for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, leading teams including knowledge development, nonprofit outreach, and donor relations. Previous to her foundation work, Lori was the operations manager of a multi-entity oil and gas corporation in Houston, Texas, and was assistant publisher of a software company in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Lori holds a B.A. in Economics, With Distinction, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and an MBA in Finance from Baker College Center for Graduate Studies. Lori holds a Ph.D. (ABD) in Leadership and Organizational Change at Walden University. Her dissertation, “Adaptive Business Models for Community Foundation Resilience,” is in progress with expected full doctorate graduation December 2013. You may reach Lori directly at llarson@guidestar.org.


Community Foundation Donor Relationship Strategies and Millennials

Lori Larson

The DonorEdge Learning Community: Transforming Institutions into Resilient Philanthropic Leadership

GuideStar enjoyed co-hosting the 2013 DonorEdge Learning Community Annual Conference last week with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The conference was filled with thought provoking guest speakers; engaging, open conversations about problems and solutions for community foundations and community philanthropy, and the future of GuideStar and GuideStar DonorEdge. Thank you to our guest speakers:

The content presented from speakers and emerging, group conversations were diverse with a couple of highlights described below:

  • Examples of successful collaborations and communication strategies:
    • Leadership alignment
    • Willingness, readiness, capacity, and culture
  • Data, information, and knowledge:
    • The importance of visualization and design for meaning and sense-making
    • Using information and knowledge to facilitate evidenced-based (data) impact and positive social change
  • Sustainable strategies and tactics proven effective by the DonorEdge Learning Community to:
    • Become philanthropic leaders and knowledge experts in their communities
    • Strengthen relationships with donors and prospective donors
    • Build nonprofit capacity
    • Transform their community foundations into adaptable, resilient organizations

Two simple, but profound, expressions were stated at the conference that were memorable:

  • Philanthropy defines community.
  • The remarkable gets remarked about.

Each member of the DonorEdge Learning Community is defining philanthropy in its community by nontraditional collaborations and their willingness to experiment and learn from mistakes that may occur along the way. Each member of the DonorEdge Learning Community is remarkable and gets remarked about because of this same willingness and nontraditional culture and leadership. These community foundations are adapting to the rapidly changing, innovative, and disruptive world in which we live.

Stay tuned for my next blog post about how DonorEdge can help connections with millennials and how the DonorEdge Learning Community is creating evidenced-based stories of organizational effectiveness and positive social change, through data, information, and knowledge.

If you are interested in learning more about DonorEdge or the DonorEdge Learning Community, please contact Lori Larson, senior director GuideStar DonorEdge, llarson@guidestar.org.

Lori Larson

Lori Larson is senior director of GuideStar DonorEdge and is responsible for GuideStar’s market and product strategy for DonorEdge, and growth of and customer relations of the DonorEdge Learning Community. Prior to joining GuideStar, Lori worked for the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, leading teams including knowledge development, nonprofit outreach, and donor relations. Previous to her foundation work, Lori was the operations manager of a multi-entity oil and gas corporation in Houston, Texas, and was assistant publisher of a software company in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Lori holds a B.A. in Economics, With Distinction, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and an MBA in Finance from Baker College Center for Graduate Studies. Lori holds a Ph.D (ABD) in Leadership and Organizational Change at Walden University. Her dissertation, “Adaptive Business Models for Community Foundation Resilience,” is in progress with expected full doctorate graduation December 2013. You may reach Lori directly at llarson@guidestar.org.